'Lords of Strategy' chronicles the evolution of the concept of 'Strategy'. Most of the content within this book is focused around key and influential figures like Bruce Henderson, Bill Bain, Frederick Gluck (McKinsey), Michael Porter and the pioneering work that these individuals performed. First at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and then with Bill Bain branching off and starting a venture of his own. Bain Capital, as you would have probaby guessed.
There is even mention of individuals like Clay Christensen and C K Prahalad. Hence, it was enlightening to know that a lot of these really intelligent individuals, share the same common background.
I randomly picked up this book during my trip to our local library and a couple of chapters in, I was thoroughly engrossed. So much so, that all the items in my existing queue (reading) were put on hold.
To start with, it was shocking to find out that there was no concept of 'Strategy' prior to the 60's. And while the book does is not a written record of the entire history of Strategy. It does manage to go into a fair bit of detail of what it was like to be the consultants, who would fundamentally end-up redefining the essence of Strategy.
The first part of this book is focused on the consultants themselves. The individuals and the groups that made BCG, well BCG. It goes into a fair bit of detail into the methods and processes that BCG employed. It's full of interesting examples that this consulting company employed. The very heavy focus on the power of ideas, which literally defined the core philosophy of BCG.
The second part of the book focuses on the history of the evolution of thinking on corporate strategy. It's really interesting to see how Strategy, has evolved as a subject. It's one thing to listen to or read what Michael Porter has to say on HBR. But only after going through this book, did I begin to understand where all of this started. That's not to say that the entire second part of the book focuses on the work that Michael Porter has performed.
I enjoyed going through this book and I believe it serves as a good framework for anyone who is interested in the history of Strategy throughout the recent past. And I say that in-spite of the fact that a lot of topics mentioned in the book were alien to me. So I found myself stopping from time to time to Google what these terms actually meant.
Although, I wish there was a workbook that came along with the text. Kind of like the workbook they had for the Fifth Discipline. That would have been beneficial for a newbie (to Strategy) like me. And it would have allowed me to retain the information and understand the concepts a bit better.
I went through this book last month, almost as if by chance . This month I got the results for my Strengths Finder test , scoring decently under the 'Strategic Thinking' theme. Interesting co-incidence.